So I currently have a data table where the headers are fully customizable (i.e. the user can decide which headers to keep in the table and which to remove). The issue is, the search bar currently only searches for items within the data table. If the user removes an important searchable item (ex: the serial no. for a device), should that item still pop up in the search? If not, how can I design the table so that it is clear that, even if you remove an important header like serial number, when you search the serial number it still pops up.

Edit: here is a screenshot of my list. As you can see, the search filters the entire data table

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2 Answers 2



The properties of an object are there whether you choose to visualize them or not. A familiar example is a Google search. You may get results that do not seem to match the search criteria, but when you click on the result, you learn why you got that result.

Now back to your interface.

Users may or may not need this information (they hid this column for a reason). But you can (and in my opinion, you should) provide some sort of context. For example, a dialog box that says "The information you searched for is in a hidden column, would you like to add this column to your view?" and then "Yes, add column" and "No, keep my columns" (or something like that).

Having said that, I don't think many people would search for items that they have intentionally decided to hide, as it would be a highly unusual cognitive issue.

However, in the unlikely event that such a situation does occur, you can follow the steps mentioned above.


Yes - and I'd suggest your search results appear in a different view than your filtered results. Whereas the filter might just narrow down the number of rows in the table, the Search results could take the user to a view that shows all details, which could contain information outside of what is shown in the table.

You could also have search results autocomplete with the information that's being searched for.

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